Baseball is back, and so is the unrelenting thunder that the Cubs can provide. We didn’t see much of it last year, but my goodness was it on display today. Bryant and Baez just smacked the Rangers around today, lets go to the video.
I don’t understand the thought process, but the Cubs decided to let Kris Bryant only play in one game today, so obviously they only won that one. That’s right, the dream of an undefeated season came to an end today as the Cubs could only take care of the Padres while losing to the Dodgers.
This one was an uphill battle from the jump as the Dodgers blitzed the Cubs for three quick runs in the bottom of the first off Christian Bergman. It didn’t get much better from there as Cubs’ pitchers combined to give up fourteen hits, and eleven runs over eight innings of work. To make things worse, the combo of Bergman, Kyle Ryan, Ian Clarkin, and Manuel Rondon walked six guys in six innings.
Not much better at the plate for the Cubs as they could only manage two runs on four hits in the loss. The lone bright spot at the plate was second baseman Trent Giambrone who went 2-for-4 with a double and his first home run of the spring.
A much better result at “home” against the Padres, as this Cubs team was led by the big lefty Jon Lester who made his spring debut. Lester was sharp, he walked the first guy he faced, allowed him to steal 2nd and 3rd then got out of trouble per usual. Lester worked two innings, allowing only one base-runner and striking out three. Working out of trouble was all the rage in this one as Brandon Kintzler, Brian Duensing, and Randy Rosario all worked scoreless innings despite heavy traffic on the bases.
A couple of loud noises from the Cubs hitters today. Willson Contreras, and Jared Young launched long home runs, a three run shot for Contreras and a two run dinger for Young. Kris Bryant was picked off first in this one which is the only time that he has made an out this spring, he finished the day with no official AB’s and two walks.
The 3-1 Cubs are back at it again tomorrow afternoon against the D-Backs when Yu Darvish will make his much anticipated 2019 debut.
One pitch, one loud noise, welcome to the 2018 championship season. Ian Happ decided to send that special first pitch of the season baseball into the right field stands to set the tone today. The Cubs’ bats were in midseason form as they cranked out three dingers en route to an 8-4 opening day victory. Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber supplied the rest of the power in this one as both launched solo shots.
Jon Lester didn’t have it, period. It looked like the velocity wasn’t there, and he found himself nibbling the zone way too often, looking a lot like Jon Lester circa 2017. I wouldn’t read too much into it, Lester typically starts slow and as Maddon said after the game the little extra finish on Lester’s pitches just wasn’t there today.
Aside from the power surge the strong work of the bullpen grabbed the rest of the headlines. Newcomer Steve Cishek was tremendous as he was forced into early duty when Lester couldn’t get out of the 4th (my Dad shakes his head in disgust). Cishek worked and inning and two-thirds giving up one hit while walking one, and striking out two. The bullpen combined to go five and two-third scoreless innings while giving up just one hit.
Good start. Welcome back, baseball.
Another night, and another close game, what else is new. Jon Lester turned in his best start of 2015, his only issue was Billy Hamilton who reached base twice, stole three bases, and scored twice. Other than that, Lester was brilliant as he struck out ten in his six innings of work. The Cubs were paced offensively by an Anthony Rizzo two run dinger, and a huge game tying solo shot by Chris Coghlan in the seventh. After watching Jason Motte get out of bases loaded trouble in the bottom of the tenth, Jonathan Herrera came up with a big hit in the eleventh. Herrera lined a base hit to right which scored Rizzo, got Bryant to third, and Herrera took second on the throw. Both of those guys scored on a bases loaded David Ross double which put this one out of reach.
Rizzo’s two run blast.
I’m so glad the Cubs didn’t cancel the season after Sunday, because that was fun. It was a pitchers day at Wrigley, but I’m not sure if 80 degrees and sun would have mattered as Jake Arrieta, and Lance Lynn were brilliant. Luckily for the Cubs, Arrieta was better, but not by much. Both guys were dealing, and the winning run came as a result of a hit batter, and a wild throw on a pick-off, go figure. After Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the 7th, and advanced to second on said wild pick-off, Starlin Castro delivered the game winning single, it was a super lazy single though…
Back to Arrieta, early on he didn’t have his best stuff as he had to battle through trouble in the first and third inning before settling into a groove. Arrieta worked seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking three, and striking out seven en route to his first win of the season. For the second straight game the Cubs bullpen displayed just how dangerous they could be, dangerous in a good way, not a Carlos Marmol way. Phil Coke, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon combined to pitch the last two innings with Rondon picking up his first save of the season.